Hi from my grandparents party!

Sixty years is a big milestone. For a birthday.

Sixty years of marriage is a HUGE deal.

Combine that with a 60th birthday (my lovely Aunt), and my grandparents combined birthdays, and my family had lots of reasons to celebrate.

The weather didn't cooperate with us, we crammed way too many people into my grandparents house, but there was plenty to eat, plenty to drink and no lack of conversation and catching up.

After a marathon cooking/baking session the night before, and an early morning drive to get there, I finished up my cooking in my grandmother's kitchen, while she "supervised" me.

Little story before I explain this photo. Yes, I have a blow torch in my hands and am using it on pies.

My grandfather turned 81 in May. For years he worked shifts, where he would get his schedule months and months in advance. If he worked on his birthday, my grandmother would always make him two banana cream pies for his birthday: one for him at home and one for him to bring into work to share with a co-worker who shared a birthday with him.

When I asked what he wanted for his birthday and the party, my grandfather said banana cream pie. So I made a bunch. Ten little ones and one regular sized one. (He invited that former co-worker over and they had the first pieces of pie.) While there are lots of recipes for banana cream pie, I used my grandmother's recipe.

And I used his blow torch to cook the meringue, which my grandmother was fascinated by (while my husband pretended to cringe on the far side of the room with my camera.)

I left a couple of these little pies in my grandparents fridge, which made him very, very happy.

And I will be getting myself a torch, not a mini kitchen one, but a propane torch like I used at my grandfathers, cause that was fun and I love the way the meringue browned and expanded under the flame.

I hope that I look as happy at my 60th anniversary. And that someone knows how to make banana cream pie.

Banana Cream Pie
by my grandmother
Makes 1, 9 inch pie

Single pie crust, prebaked (I used Dorie's Good for Almost Anything recipe)
1/4 cup corn starch
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, scalded
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla (I used ground vanilla beans)
1-2 bananas
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/3 -1/2 cup sugar

Mix the corn starch, sugar and salt in a medium sized pot. Gradually add in the warm milk, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat (you could use a double boiler if you are worried about scorching the bottom of the pan), for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbling and thickening. Slowly add a ladle full of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, to temper them, then add the egg mixture back into the milk, still stirring constantly. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Add in the butter and vanilla, stirring to be sure it is well incorporated.

If you are not filling the pie shell immediately, the lay a piece of plastic wrap across the top of the custard to prevent a film from forming.

For the pie, spread a thin layer of cream in the bottom of the prebaked pie shell. Slice the bananas thinly and cover the cream with a single layer of bananas. Layer more cream, thicker, then more banana, then more cream, until you are at the top of the pie, ending with the cream.

Make the meringue; Mix the salt and cream of tarter with the egg whites on medium-high speed with an electric or hand mixer, until light and frothy. Increase the speed to high and gradually add in the sugar, continuing to beat the egg whites until they have firm peaks but are still shiny and glossy. Mound on the pie. Place under the broiler until the meringue is golden brown and puffed, or borrow a propane blow torch and have some fun.


Megan said...

Woo-wee! Bring on the fire!

What a sweet couple - and what a nice party!

Peabody said...

Those pies look like they turned out great. Got to love a dessert you can use a blowtorch on. ;)

pam said...

What fun! What a milestone!

Karen Baking Soda said...

What a wonderful story, and such a delight to be there and be able to make those pies together!
(Love the blowtorch!!!)

creampuff said...

Too cute for words!

Ela "need cash today" Hobs said...

Congratulations! :-)